MINNEAPOLIS -- Adam Jones clubbed a pair of homers to help the Orioles power past the Twins, 11-5, on Sunday at Target Field. Baltimore closed out the first half of the season with two straight wins to split the four-game set. Minnesota has won five of the seven meetings between the two teams this year.
Jones launched a three-run blast in the first off Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who was handed the loss, and the O's never looked back. Gibson was charged with seven runs off nine hits across four innings.
"It's always a good thing to go into a break with a win," Jones said. "Last two games, we have played some really good baseball. We have a few days off, so hopefully we can mentally put behind us the last two months. Come out second half, blazing saddles."
Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph and Jones were responsible for eight of the team's 11 runs. Jones collected five RBIs, including a solo shot to lead off the fifth inning. Joseph delivered a two-run single during a four-run fifth inning, as he finished the day 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
O's righty Ubaldo Jimenez labored through five innings, surrendering four runs on four hits. All four runs came during the second inning, in which he allowed only two hits but walked three batters and hit another. Robbie Grossman (two-run single) and Max Kepler (RBI double) delivered the only significant blows to Jimenez before he induced an inning-ending groundout by All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano.
"It's frustrating for it to turn it out that way," Gibson said. "I think I threw enough strikes, but it was about the quality of strikes. That's a good lineup over there, and you have to execute pitches in the zone."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jones' first jack: Jones sent a first-pitch slider into the seats for a three-run blast in the first inning, which gave Baltimore an early advantage. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled an estimated 452 feet with an exit velocity of 105.8 mph. It was Jones' longest homer this season by 31 feet and just one foot shy of his personal best since Statcast™ began tracking home runs in 2015. The Orioles now have a Major League-leading eight homers that have gone a projected 450-plus feet.
Four-spot: Baltimore broke the game open and chased Gibson out of the game for good in the the fifth inning. Clinging to a 5-4 lead, Jones crushed a solo shot to left to lead off the fifth. Per Statcast™, the homer had an exit velocity of 110.9 mph, which was his hardest home run of the season and second hardest since the start of 2015. Mark Trumbo followed up with a single hit at 111.5 mph, according to Statcast™, to close the book on Gibson. Against Tyler Duffey, three of the next four batters reached via a hit. Joseph and Ruben Tejada capped the outburst with a two-run single and an RBI double, respectively.
"They have a hungry lineup over there and when you smell blood, you just have to get in there and do your best to keep tacking on runs," Joseph said. "But to tack on runs, those are the nails in the coffin that really put the game away."
"With the last couple losses, it's kind of a disappointing way to go into the break. I think there were times we could've spurted and took advantage of some opportunities. But if you look back at the beginning and see where we are, that'd be encouraging. So as a manager you look for the positives, the competitiveness and resiliency we've shown. But you always think there's another level to get to." -- manager Paul Molitor, on the Twins, who go into the All-Star break with a 45-43 record
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jones climbed up the Orioles' all-time RBI leaderboard with his efforts on Sunday. He now has 770 RBIs, enough to pass Ken Singleton for fifth in Baltimore history.
GRANITE MAKES FIRST START
Twins rookie Zack Granite, who made his Major League debut with a pinch-hit appearance on Saturday, made his first career start in center field. He made a great catch in the fourth, robbing Manny Machado of extra bases with a leaping grab at the wall. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, and he is looking for his first career hit.
"I got a decent jump at it," Granite said. "I timed it pretty good. I knew where I was, and I feel like I'm better going back on the ball. So I just timed it right and made the catch."
Twins catcher Jason Castro was scratched from the lineup with neck spasms, and he was replaced by Chris Gimenez. Castro is day-to-day.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Baltimore's All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop was originally rewarded with an infield single to lead off the sixth inning. However, after a review that lasted 50 seconds, the call was overturned and he was ruled out on a 6-3 putout.
The Orioles elected to challenge a play in the top of the seventh. Initially, Trey Mancini was ruled out on a groundout to third base. It took two minutes and 20 seconds for the review, but the call stood. Baltimore is now 14-for-19 on the season on their own challenges.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Baltimore will return home after the All-Star Break for a 10-game homestand, starting with a three-game Interleague set against the Cubs. Right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.85 ERA) is slated to get the ball in the series opener on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. In his last start, Gausman gave up six runs (five earned) over four innings to Minnesota.
Twins: After the All-Star break, the Twins head to Houston for a three-game series against the American League-leading Astros that begins on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT on MLB.TV. Right-hander Jose Berrios (8-2, 3.53 ERA) is set to start, and he is coming off a win against the Orioles, allowing three earned runs in six innings.